The boys’ guide to optimal utilization of toy trains and real dads

Playing with trains is fun. But you may not be squeezing out all the fun you can. Follow these simple instructions, young man, and you will extract every drop of enjoyment out of your trains.

Collect multiple, incompatible train sets

When asking for a new train for your birthday, choose one that doesn’t work with any of the sets you already own. When your dad buys the starter kit, he will become disappointed by how few pieces it contains. He will say something like, “This isn’t enough track to do anything with.” Fearful of ruining your big day with an inadequate gift, he will buy you lots of extra pieces so you can build a proper railway.

Nag your dad into helping you set up the track

Your dad is really just an oversized boy. He loves playing with trains, no matter how much work he claims to have. He may bitch and moan about his sore joints, but there’s no place he’d rather be than crawling around the floor, trying to force poorly molded pieces of plastic together. He may think he’s busy, but if you ask him to play trains every 10 seconds, his conscience won’t let him concentrate on anything else. TIP: Disregard any popping noises your dad’s knee makes when he tries to get back up.

Strategically distribute the pieces

By now, your mom has designated a specific box or basket for each of your many train sets. This would be a fine way to organize things if you were one of those focused kids who is satisfied to play with one thing at a time. Those focused kids are boring duds, and you are not one of them. Teach your parents this by putting all of your train parts into the correct storage bin, except for the most crucial piece. Place the piece that makes the whole set work in a different, randomly selected box. IMPORTANT: Forget which box you put it in. Now, you have to dump all the boxes on the floor in order to build the railway you hooked your dad into setting up. Parents secretly love this!

Mess of trains

An assortment of incompatible engines in front of a basket of almost all of the pieces of a track that may or may not be the correct gauge for one of the locatable trains.

Play with some random, piece-of-crap toy from the mess on the floor while your dad waits for you to find the missing piece

Remember that stupid toy you got in your Happy Meal? Yeah, the one you couldn’t even figure out what it was supposed to be. One of the three useless pieces of that junk just got dumped on the floor. Act fascinated by it while your dad waits for you to turn up the main bridge support for the Big Bridge Train Set you’re supposed to be building. This will supply your dad with three of the things he loves most in life: a big mess on the floor, a kid who’s making no effort to pick it up, and time wasted building a track that can’t be finished.

Whine about having to clean up such a huge mess

This is just a reminder. Everyone knows you are already an expert at this.

By following these instructions, you will get the most out of all your trains and even your lazy dad. Your dad really wants to play trains with you right now; he just doesn’t know it yet. And don’t forget about sharing. Share these instructions with your little brother. Your parents will be so proud of you.

More on boys and trains:
A good zoo will have some animals to compliment its train
History, trains, dinosaurs, trains, airplanes, and mostly trains
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14 comments on “The boys’ guide to optimal utilization of toy trains and real dads

  1. technophile9 says:

    This was so funny, and even though I’m not a dad, and I don’t have any younger brothers (only sisters ;)) it has a definite ring of truth. The line about sharing was hilarious. 😉

  2. Uh yeah, that sounds about right! I have a model train set or is it called an electric train maybe that my wife won’t let me open because she says it’s nice and the kids will ruin it. It’s supposed to go around the tree at christmas someday.

  3. Tom W says:

    I still remember the Christmas my brother and I got an electric train set. Of course, Dad loved it too. Hours of fun in the days when only the super rich had a second black and white TV. Love hearing that boys, big and small, still play with trains. Our’s no longer runs, but it is packed away in my brother’s basement.

  4. I always look forward to your posts and the laughter they bring. Very funny stuff, Scott!

  5. Ohmyfreakin’godyes to this. I can’t say I was sad when my son moved on from trains to Legos. Legos are a bitch when you accidentally step on them, but everything fits into everything…all the time.

  6. A great post that I will make sure never to show to my son.

  7. Traci says:

    If you substitute the noun Barbie Dream House for train, this post also works wonderfully well for little girls.

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